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Russia’s largest oil producer, state-controlled Rosneft, said on Thursday in response to a media report that it does not ship petroleum products to North Korea and does not do any business in the country.
On Wednesday, the Yonhap news agency of South Korea reported that North Korea boosted its imports of refined oil products from Russia by 16 percent last year, despite the wide-ranging sanctions on Kim Jong-un’s regime.
North Korea imported US$24.8 million worth of oil products from last year, Yonhap reported, citing research by international security research company Kharon, based on data from the International Trade Centre.
According to Yonhap’s article, the Russian oil products supplied to North Korea were produced by the state energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom.
The research cited by Yonhap found that North Korea imported US$26 million worth of fuel products from Rosneft between 2018 and 2019 and about US$100,000 from Gazprom in 2018.
In response to the report, Rosneft said on Thursday that “The information provided in this article is not factual and aims to harm the industry market competition. Rosneft does not supply North Korea and does not conduct any commercial activity in that country.”
“As a public company and one of the leaders in the global energy industry, Rosneft operates in strict compliance with Russian and international law, corporate standards, and in the interests of its shareholders, which include major international companies, professional institutional investors, and tens of thousands of individuals and legal entities,” the Russian oil giant said.
In addition, Rosneft said that it considers the publishing of information about alleged involvement in supplies of oil products to North Korea as “a provocation,” and will go to court to protect its business reputation.
Last year, a UN Panel of Experts said that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile program remains intact while the country continues to defy United Nations resolutions with significantly increased illegal ship-to-ship oil and coal transfers.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.